() are Chinese comics
produced in China
and in the Greater China
region. Whilst Chinese comics and narrated illustrations having existed in China in some shape or form throughout its imperial history, the term first appeared in 1904 in a comic titled 'Current Affairs Comics' or ''shíshì mànhuà'' (时事漫画) in the Shanghai-based newspaper, Jingzhong Daily (警钟日报).
The word () was originally an 18th-century term used in Chinese literati painting
. It became popular in Japan as ''manga
'' in the late 18th century. Feng Zikai
reintroduced the word to Chinese, in the modern sense, with his 1925 series of political cartoons entitled ''Zikai Manhua'' in the ''Wenxue Zhoubao'' (Literature Weekly).
While terms other than had existed before, this particular publication took precedence over the many other descriptions for cartoon art that were used previously and came to be associated with all Chinese comic materials.
The Chinese character
s for are identical to those used for the Japanese ''manga'' and Korea
. Someone who draws or writes is referred to as a ().
The oldest surviving examples of Chinese drawings are stone relief
s from the 11th century BC and pottery
from 5000 to 3000 B.C. Other examples include symbolic brush drawings from the Ming Dynasty
, a satirical drawing titled "Peacocks" by the early Qing Dynasty
artist Zhu Da
, and a work called "Ghosts' Farce Pictures" from around 1771 by Luo Liang-feng. Chinese was born in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, roughly during the years 1867 to 1927.
[Wong, Wendy Siuyi. 002(2001) ''Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua''. Princeton Architectural Press, New York. ]
The introduction of lithographic
printing methods derived from the West was a critical step in expanding the art in the early 20th century. Beginning in the 1870s, satirical drawings appeared in newspapers and periodicals. By the 1920s palm-sized picture books like Lianhuanhua
were popular in Shanghai
[Lent, John A. 001(2001) Illustrating Asia: Comics, Humor Magazines, and Picture Books. University of Hawaii Press. ]
They are considered the predecessor of modern-day .
One of the first magazines of satirical cartoons came from the United Kingdom
entitled ''The China Punch''.
The first piece drawn by a person of Chinese nationality was ''The Situation in the Far East'' from Tse Tsan-tai
in 1899, printed in Japan. Sun Yat-Sen
established the Republic of China
in 1911 using Hong Kong's manhua
to circulate anti-Qing
propaganda. Some of the that mirrored the early struggles of the transitional political and war periods were ''The True Record'' and ''Renjian Pictorial''.
Up until the establishment of the Shanghai Sketch Society in 1927, all prior works were Lianhuanhua or loose collections of materials. The first successful magazine, ''Shanghai Sketch
'' (or ''Shanghai Manhua'') appeared in 1928.
Between 1934 and 1937 about 17 magazines were published in Shanghai. This format would once again be put to propaganda use with the outbreak of the Second Sino-Japanese War
. By the time the Japanese occupied Hong Kong
in 1941, all activities had stopped. With the surrender of the Japanese in 1945, political mayhem between Chinese Nationalists
took place. One of the critical , ''This Is a Cartoon Era'' by Renjian Huahui made note of the political backdrop at the time.
One of the most popular and enduring comics of this period was Zhang Leping
'', first published in 1935.
During the Anti-Japanese War, begun in 1937, many Chinese cartoonists, including Ye Qianyu, fled Shanghai and other major cities and waged "cartoon guerilla warfare" against the Japanese invaders by mounting roving cartoon exhibitions and publishing cartoon magazines in inland cities like Hankou.
The rise of Chinese immigration turned Hong Kong into the main -ready market, especially with the baby boom
generation of children. The most influential magazine for adults was the 1956 ''Cartoons World'', which fueled the best-selling Uncle Choi
. The availability of Japanese and Taiwanese comics challenged the local industry, selling at a pirated bargain price of 10 cents.
-like ''Old Master Q
'' were needed to revitalize the local industry.
The arrival of television in the 1970s was a changing point. Bruce Lee
's films dominated the era and his popularity launched a new wave of Kung Fu
The explicit violence helped sell comic books, and the Government of Hong Kong
intervened with the Indecent Publication Law in 1975.
'' was one of the pieces which absorbed all the social changes.
The materials would also bloom in the 90s with work like McMug
and three-part stories like "Teddy Boy", "Portland Street" and "Red Light District".
Since the 1950s, Hong Kong's market has been separate from that of mainland China.
''Si loin et si proche
'', by Chinese writer and illustrator Xiao Bai, won the Gold Award at the 4th International Manga Award
in 2011. Several other have also won the Silver and Bronze Awards at the International Manga Award.
In the second half of the 2000s and early 2010s, various Chinese cartoonists began using social media
to spread satirical strips and cartoons online
Print publishing, being strictly controlled in China, is slowly being traded in for microblogging
websites such as Sina Weibo
, where can reach a wide audience while subject to less editorial control.
Despite China being a major consumer of comics for decades, the medium has never been taken as "serious works of art". R. Martin of ''The Comics Journal
'' describes the Chinese outlook on comics as "pulpy imitations of films
". Furthermore, China strictly controls the publishing of comics, and as a result, cartoonists faced difficulty reaching a large audience. Many cartoonists in the late 2000s began self-publishing their work on social media
instead of attempting to issue paper editions. Websites such as Douban
(2005) and Sina Weibo
(2009) are popular venues for web manhua
The Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival celebrated the coming of a "webcomics era" in 2015. With increased smartphone usage with a younger generation, web , webcomics, and webtoons are expected to become more popular. With an increasing prevalence of Chinese-language online comic platforms, young artists have more opportunities to publish their work and gain a reputation.] In the second half of the 2010s, South Korean webtoons and webtoon platforms have become increasingly popular in China.
In 2016, two have been adapted into anime television series: ''Yi Ren Zhi Xia'' and ''Soul Buster''. Another series, ''Bloodivores'', based on a web , will start airing on October 1, 2016. Another series, ''The Silver Guardian'', is scheduled to premiere in 2017.
Before the official terminology was established, the art form was known by several names.
Today's are simply distinguished by four categories.
Modern Chinese-style characteristics is credited to the breakthrough art work of the 1982 ''Chinese Hero''.
Unlike manga, it had more realistic drawings with details resembling real people. Most also comes in full color with some panels rendered entirely in painting for the single issue format.
Most work from the 1800s to the 1930s contained characters that appeared serious. The cultural openness in Hong Kong brought the translation of American Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Pinocchio in the 1950s, demonstrating western influence in local work like ''Little Angeli'' in 1954. The influx of translated Japanese manga of the 60s, as well as televised anime in Hong Kong also made a significant impression.
Differences in formatting
Depending on where they are created, can have differences in the way they are formatted and presented. Besides the use of traditional and simplified Chinese characters, may also need to be read differently depending on where they are from. Their original Chinese text is placed horizontally in from mainland China and read from left-to-right (like Western comics and Korean manhwa), while Taiwanese and Hong Kongese have the characters rendered vertically top-to-bottom and sentences are read from right-to-left.
These are due to differences in the style prescribed by the governments of China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong.
Digital , known as web , are a growing art form in China. Web are posted on social media and web portals, which serve as a lower bar of entry than the strictly controlled print publication outlets in the country. Though little money is currently made through online in China, the medium has become popular due to ease of uploading and publishing titles, color publication, and free reading access. Some popular web sites include QQ Comic and U17. In recent years, several Chinese web have been adapted into animated series, with some in co-production with the Japanese animation industry.
As microblogging and webcomics were gaining popularity in China, the form was increasingly used for political activism and satire. Despite China being a major consumer of comics for decades, the medium has never been taken as "serious works of art". R. Martin of ''The Comics Journal'' describes the Chinese outlook on comics as "pulpy imitations of films". Furthermore, China strictly controls the publishing of comics, and as a result, cartoonists faced difficulty reaching a large audience. Many cartoonists in the late 2000s began self-publishing their work on social media instead of attempting to issue paper editions. Websites such as Douban (2005) and Sina Weibo (2009) are popular venues for webcomics.
[ he Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival celebrated a coming "webcomics era" in 2015. With increased smartphone usage with a younger generation, webcomics featuring a scrollable infinite canvas are expected to become more popular. With an increasing prevalence of Chinese-language webcomic portals, young artists have more opportunities to publish their work and gain a reputation.] [ In the second half of the 2010s, South Korean webcomics and webtoon platforms have become increasingly popular in China.]
Cartoonists such as Kuang Biao and Rebel Pepper make use of the Internet to criticize the Communist Party and its leaders. Communist propaganda and figures such as Lei Feng are openly mocked on microblogs and in online cartoons, despite efforts of censorship by the Chinese government. David Bandurski, a researcher with the University of Hong Kong's China Media Project, stated that social media has "dramatically changed the environment for cartoonists sthey now have a really good platform to find an audience." Chinese animator Pi San criticized internet companies and web portals for being "pretty cowardly" and "too sensitive", as they take on the role of first line of defense through self-censorship. Rebel Pepper's account on Sina Weibo, where he posts his satiral cartoons, had been deleted over 180 times by 2012.
Blogging websites such as Sina Weibo are also highly censored by the Chinese government. Reuters reported in September 2013 that about 150 graduates, all male, were employed to censor Sina Weibo day and night, and automatic censors processed around three million posts per day. A research team from Rice University, Texas, stated that they saw "a fairly sophisticated system, where human power is amplified by computer automation, capable of removing sensitive posts within minutes." Images censored from Sina Weibo include a portrait of Mao Zedong wearing a pollution mask, a photo compilation identifying the expensive watches on the wrists of supposedly low-waged local officials, and criticism on police action, censorship in education, and the one child policy.
Webtoons have grown in popularity in China as another form to consume and produce in the country thanks in part to the popularity of South Korean webtoons. Microblogging platforms Sina Weibo and Tencent have also offered webtoons on their digital sites alongside web . Also Beijing-based platform Kuaikan specialises in artwork targeting young readers. Several of these s have later been translated into various languages. While webtoon portals in mainland China are mainly run by the big internet companies, webtoon portals in Taiwan are offered and operated by big webtoon publishers outside the country like Comico, and Naver (under the Line brand).
Political cartoonist Liu "Big Corpse Brother" Jun had over 130,000 followers on Sina Weibo in December 2013, and Kuang Biao has his work appear both online and in various print journals.
The Taiwanese comics industry expects webcomics to prosper financially, though no accurate figures exist as of yet. Prize-winning cartoonists such as Chung Yun-de and Yeh Yu-tung were forced to turn to webcomics as their monthly income was too low to live from.
Beijing cartoonist Bu Er Miao sells her webcomic ''Electric Cat and Lightning Dog'' on Douban's eBook service for 1.99 CNY (roughly 0.30 USD). When asked about whether she makes a profit off of her webcomic, Miao described the 1.79 CNY she makes per comic sold as "an amount of money that if you saw it on the street, no one would bother to pick it up."
The Chinese webcomic ''One Hundred Thousand Bad Jokes'' received a film adaptation of the same name released in 2014. In 2016, two anime series based on Chinese web were broadcast: ''Hitori no Shita: The Outcast'',
based on ''Yi Ren Zhi Xia'' by Dong Man Tang and ''Bloodivores'', based on a web by Bai Xiao. An animated series adaptation of a web by Pingzi, ''Spiritpact'', has been released in China. A Chinese-Japanese animated series based on ''Chōyū Sekai'' is scheduled to air in 2017. Another series, ''The Silver Guardian'', based on ''Yín Zhī Shǒu Mù Rén'', premiered in 2017. Chang Ge Xing, a live-action adaptation of the of the same name by Xia Da, began filming in 2019.
Kakao, operating the Korean webtoon portal Daum Webtoon, has collaborated with the Chinese Huace Group in order to produce live-action, Chinese language films and television dramas based on South Korean webtoons.
*Ani-Com Hong Kong
*Hong Kong Comics
*Hong Kong Comics: A History of Manhua
*List of manhua
*List of manhua publishers
; General references
* Geremie R. Barmé. ''An Artistic Exile: A Life of Feng Zikai (1898-1975)''. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2002.
* Wai-ming Ng (2003). "Japanese Elements in Hong Kong Comics: History, Art, and Industry". ''International Journal of Comic Art''. 5 (2):184–193.
Manhua retellings of Old Chinese legends
When Manga meets Communism
Tales of Taiwan's Comic Artists: Persecution, Isolation and Endless Talent